While trying to pinpoint the cause of your back pain, you may not consider one of your bad habits to be the source. If you smoke cigarettes, you’re not only affecting your lung health, but your back as well, which can lead to severe pain and hinder your quality of life. Several studies have found a link between lower back pain and smoking cigarettes. Here is how it takes a toll on your back.

Restricted blood flow
When you smoke, your arteries can harden, which restricts blood flow to areas that get blood from smaller vessels, like the discs in your back. Without this blood flow, your discs have an increased rate of degenerating. Your discs are responsible for cushioning your vertebrae, so you’ll have an increased chance of having a herniated disc or compressing the nerves in your back, which can be debilitating if it becomes chronic.

Pressure from coughing
Smoking increases coughing, since you’re putting chemicals into your lungs. If your coughing is severe enough, it can cause serious injuries to your ribs, organs, and even your back due to the pressure it’s putting on various parts of your body. Coughing fits can strain your back muscles and cause serious pain while taking longer to heal. You also heal slower due to smoking.

Reduced calcium absorption
Calcium is vital for the growth and strength of your bones, there are many bones that are a part of your spine. Smoking changes how your body uses the vitamin D you receive, so your bones don’t absorb as much calcium as non-smokers. If your body doesn’t have enough calcium, you’re at a higher risk for osteoporosis, which makes your bones fragile all over your body, and can slow down healing for any bone related injuries.

It’s obvious that smoking can affect your lungs, but you may not have considered it as the source of your back pain. Back pain of any kind from mildly annoying to chronic can disrupt your life and make everyday tasks daunting. If you suffer from back pain and you smoke cigarettes, you should find out if they’re connected. Seek professional help from a place like Coastal Spine and Pain Center to help you start living a healthier life without back pain.

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